A former Proud Boys officer who collaborated with federal investigators in a seditious conspiracy prosecution against other members of the far-right organization was sentenced to 40 months in jail Tuesday for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol.
Charles Donohoe, described by the government as “a trusted lieutenant” on former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio’s “leadership team,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding as well as assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, including by throwing two water bottles at police while they were being assaulted by the mob. Donohoe was also accused of handling a stolen police shield on the grounds of the Capitol on January 6.
Donohue, who is no longer a member of the Proud Boys, has been imprisoned since his arrest in March 2021, thus the punishment is practically the same as time served. Several passages from public records in the case indicating Donohue’s assistance with the authorities were redacted.
“Functionally, you’re going to be leaving pretty soon,” Judge Timothy Kelly told Donohoe on Tuesday, commending him for his behavior since his arrest but emphasizing the gravity of the underlying crime.
Prosecutors claimed in a sentencing memo that Donohue was aware that members of the Proud Boys “were discussing the possibility of storming the US Capitol” at least two days before the Capitol attack.
“Donohoe believed that storming the US Capitol would achieve the group’s goal of stopping the government from carrying out the transfer of presidential power,” the attorney general wrote.
Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in September, the harshest sentence handed down to any Jan. 6 offender yet. His co-defendants included Joe Biggs, who received a 17-year sentence, Zachary Rehl, who received a 15-year term, and Ethan Nordean, who received an 18-year sentence.
Dominic Pezzola, the case’s fifth defendant, was found not guilty of the primary allegation of seditious conspiracy but guilty of other offenses and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Donohue’s attorneys said that their client “joined the Proud Boys in 2018, after watching a documentary on YouTube and seeing a video of Antifa smashing a Berkeley United States Marine Corps window in 2017.” Donohue eventually became president of a North Carolina chapter.
“After Mr. Donohoe decided to plead guilty and cooperate with the Government, the Proud Boys permanently banned him from their organization,” stated one of his lawyers. “However, when Mr. Donohoe decided to accept responsibility for his actions, he intended to leave the Proud Boys.” He has not been sorry for severing relations with the Proud Boy group. It is his wish to move forward in his life and focus on his family, particularly his little kid.”
Donohue “served to organize and keep the men in line in the immediate aftermath” of Tarrio’s arrest on separate charges just before the Jan. 6 attack, according to federal prosecutors, by “nuking” their original organizing chats and “creating a new encrypted chat from which the group could organize its activities.”
“Donohoe also played an important role on the ground on January 6th, communicating with and organizing others.” During the riot, he reported the situation to… leadership, including a real-time video report at 12:56 p.m. that the men had stormed the Capitol building.’ When he arrived on Capitol grounds, Donohoe “joined the group’s efforts to advance by throwing two water bottles at a line of officers,” prosecutors stated.
“And he reassembled with other Proud Boys who had marched to the Capitol for a final, fateful push toward the Capitol building.” Following the attack, Donohoe celebrated with the other conspirators, claiming in texts that January 6 made him “feel like a complete warrior,” and that “we stormed the capitol unarmed […] and we took it over unarmed.”
Donohue was a Marine for four years and deployed twice to Iraq. He then worked as a defense contractor in countries such as Afghanistan.
More than 1,200 people have been detained in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and over 450 have received prison sentences. According to online sleuths, over 1,000 other Jan. 6 participants have been identified but not yet detained.